An Unknown Turkish Festival in Moena - Italy
"Moena Turkish Festival"
When Vien (Austria) was under siege by Ottomans around 1683's an Ottoman jannisery (Ottoman soldier) gets hurted in a field. An Ausburger citizen helps him and takes him to his town called Moena (a beautifull skii resort today at Dolomites north of Italy-Trentino). After a while the jannisery gets along well with the villagers, and starts to help them. Especially when the feodal lord of Ausburg asks for higher taxes from the Moena citisens the jennisary resists him on behalf of the villagers, and he succeeds well. So he becomes a hero among the village... Although he spends the rest of his life there in Moena he still practises his own Ottoman traditions. He never changes the style of Ottomanic dress, he never lives in a house. He prefers living in a Ottoman tent (he even gets marry with a girl from Moena and takes her to his tent to live instead of a house). After his passing away the people of Moena start to organize a festival on behalf of his memory.
So this year me and some of my friends got in touch with the municipality of Moena and told them that we want to join to this charming Turkish Festival. As they are very friendly the Mayor sent an official invitation to us to make the visa prosess faster. We packed up, my professional photographer friends also prepared a Ottoman Jennisary photograf exhibition for Moena and we flew to Italy.
It was a bit difficult for us to reach the town. We got in to 3 different trains, 1 bus and 20 min car drive to reach up Ýtalian Alpens... The Mayor and festival comittee welcomed us. Thanks for their hospitality....
Interestingly locals feel very close to Turkey although they never been to Turkey or they dont have any relations with Turkey. Some of them even dont know where Turkey is, but they just like Turkey. They even have a zone in the town called Turkey. People living in that zone say they are from Turkey:-) The festival takes 2 days and they decorates their houses (inside and outside) with Turkish flags. They dress up like Ottoman Turks (their Ottoman dresses look like 'Indian Dresses' thou...) They parade, dance, drink beer, make small exibitions and organise competitions etc... for 2 days... Many of locals says they are Turkish and they know they are not actually :-) There is also a very old jannisary fountain in the town.
"Nobody knows about this festival in Turkey..."
I made plenty of research about the festival after I came back home Istanbul but I couldnt find enough info neither on the net nor libraries. I guess we made a good job there. Tried to take some photographs, my friends made a nice exhibition also collected some documents and information about the area and the festival to represent them to official authorities and our colleagues.